Records Management in a Hybrid Office

The Home Office

Hand turns cubes and changes words from "office work" to "hybrid work"Hybrid offices have been a slowly-developing concept until COVID forced many organizations to send their employees away from the office to work at home. One thing the pandemic did was prove that employees can work efficiently outside of the corporate office space. Now that many employees have returned to the office, some organizations have realized that working from home, or a combination of home and office, is a good way to balance work and home life.

Now, businesses are faced with the challenge of trying to accommodate the desire for hybrid offices. But how does that affect the records management policy written so carefully before the pandemic?

The Hybrid Office

With the choice of working from home, in the office, or a combination of both—and with the knowledge and experience of both—the challenge becomes keeping up productivity without sacrificing information security and legal compliance. Here are some of the challenges business leaders have discovered:

  • Work Week Ratio. Deciding how to split up the work week between the office and home is affected by your unique business requirement, each person’s specific job, and the resources available in each location. Will there be more in-office than at-home days, or is only one office day per week or month needed to meet with colleagues face-to-face?
  • There Is No One-Size-Fits-All. Who do you ask for advice on how to make your hybrid office work? It’s constantly evolving, and each organization is unique. Hybrid records management advice is needed to keep things on the right track.
  • Unique Emotional Impact. Human interaction is vital. Some employees are highly dependent on it and prefer face to face communication, while other staff value alone time and can accomplish more with fewer interruptions by communicating mainly via email, text, or video meetings. Each employee is different.
  • Environment Design. What does the office look like? Is the same amount of space you have before the pandemic still necessary? Can you have hybrid employees share cubicles and desk space, using them on different days of the week? What does the work-from-home employee require to be work effectively?

Each of these unique variants of the hybrid office will also affect how well your business records are managed. While digital information has been a part of our work environment for a long time, there are still some things to consider when employees are working in separate locations, especially if the transition to work from home happened quickly.

Here are some tips for effective record management in a hybrid environment:

    1. Keep Both Document Formats Compliant. Document formats include both digital and hard copy, and many offices work with both. Regardless of the format, to remain compliant with data privacy laws, records classification and retention scheduling should be carried out for business records in both digital and hard copy document formats.
    1. Maintain Central Control. Maintaining control over the full lifecycle of your records will help avoid noncompliance issues. Here’s how to maintain control:
      • Classify records according to the business activity they are associated with.
      • Use document indexing for easy and quick file retrieval.
      • Use a standard file numbering/naming system for both paper and electronic records.
      • Centralize management of both digital and hard copy files to best utilize storage space and ensure that employees are accessing the most recent version of the file.
    1. Purge Unnecessary Documents. Regularly remove copies, drafts and other non-original documents to avoid errors due to the presence of unnecessary records.
    1. Convert to Digital Format. It is legal in most states to use a digital record in place of the original paper record for most documents. In many cases, the original needs to be stored, but digital document management is an excellent tool for the hybrid work environment.

Docusafe provides hybrid records management services to businesses in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. If you feel overwhelmed by the challenges of hybrid office records management or just have questions, call us at 888-264-7367 or complete the form on this page. Our friendly experts are waiting to assist you.

Request Your Quote

When You're Ready, Let's Talk!